RCVS Council has unanimously approved the introduction of a disciplinary system for registered veterinary nurses on April 1, 2011. VN Council chairman Liz Branscombe said: “This is our chance to show government and the public that we are ready and willing to be regulated.”
RCVS Council has unanimously approved the introduction of a disciplinary system for registered veterinary nurses on April 1, 2011.
The RCVS established the non-statutory register for veterinary nurses in 2007, and registration signals a commitment from veterinary nurses to account for their professional practice.
Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs) commit to keep their skills up to date via mandatory CPD and abide by the Guide to Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses. The disciplinary mechanism is the final component of this regulatory framework, which means that, from April 1, 2011, an RVN could be removed or suspended from the Register if found guilty of serious professional misconduct, fraudulent registration or criminal offences affecting his or her fitness to practise.
The decision has been awaited for some time, as there has been some dispute about whether an RVN could be removed from the statutory List of Veterinary Nurses (meaning veterinary surgeons would be barred from delegating to them tasks allowed under Schedule 3 to the Veterinary Surgeons Act, such as medical treatment or minor surgery), as well as the non-statutory Register.
Following legal advice that it would not be appropriate to remove someone from a statutory list via a non-statutory regulatory system, RCVS Council and the Veterinary Nurses Council opted for removal from the Register only, with the caveat that any such removed VNs will be clearly identified on the List. In addition, veterinary surgeons will be advised, via the Guide to Professional Conduct, against delegating Schedule 3 tasks to them.
Council also confirmed that it would seek an amendment to Schedule 3 as soon as possible, to enable it to remove the names of nurses found guilty of serious professional misconduct or other charges from the List.
VN Council chairman Liz Branscombe said: “The Veterinary Nurses Council is committed to moving towards statutory regulation for veterinary nurses. This non-statutory commitment to a disciplinary system is our chance to show government and the public that we are ready and willing to be regulated, which should stand us in good stead for the future.”
The RVN disciplinary system will mirror that for veterinary surgeons, with the same complaints-handling, investigation and decision-making processes and sanctions.
- Registered Veterinary Nurses will receive more detailed information about the system over the coming months.